Nonviolent Action around the World – 16 June 2009 (Part 2)

June 16, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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AFRICA

Facebook Swahili launched
By: BBC News, June 15, 2009
The social-networking website Facebook has launched in Swahili, targeting more than 110m speakers of the language. A group of Swahili scholars launched the new version with the permission of the California-based internet firm. Facebook use has spread over the past five years in East and Central Africa, where most Swahili-speakers live.
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Independent radio station for Eritreans begins broadcasting from Paris
By: Reporters Without Borders, June 15, 2009
Radio Erena (“Our Eritrea”), a Tigrinya-language station broadcasting by satellite to Eritrea, began operating today in Paris, five days ahead of World Refugee Day. The result of an initiative by Eritrean journalists based abroad and supported by Reporters Without Borders, the station is offering freely-reported, independent news and information to Eritreans in Eritrea.
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AMERICAS

US: Unions and migrant workers coalesce from coast to coast
By: Peter Costantini, Human Rights Tribune, June 15, 2009
Up the Pacific Coast from California to Washington, through the heartland in Texas and Illinois, and over to the Atlantic Seaboard in New Jersey and New York, local trade unions and mainly immigrant workers centres are experimenting with new modes of cooperation. In some places the form has been an organisational alliance through the local labour council. In others, they are joining forces on ad hoc projects that give both groups traction on common goals.
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Washington Post editorial on Tsvangirai’s US visit
By: ZimOnline, June 15, 2009
As Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai presses on with his tour of key Western capitals to try to raise crucial aid for Zimbabwe, many in the West – including US President Barack Obama who Tsvangirai met last Friday – insist the power-sharing government of Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe must do more before the world’s rich nations can give financial support. An editorial we reproduce says until Mugabe yields power, nothing should be done that would serve to prop up the Harare administration.
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Venezuela: Government may shutter critical TV channel
By: Christopher Toothaker, Miami Herald, June 12, 2009
President Hugo Chavez threatened to close down an opposition-sided news network, saying the defiant Globovision channel’s days on the airwaves will be numbered if its directors don’t stand down. Chavez on Thursday urged executives at Globovision “to reflect” upon the TV channel’s tough anti-government stance – or else the station “won’t be on the airwaves much longer.”
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Peru: Worldwide protests in support of Amazon Indians
By: Survival International, June 12, 2009
Thousands of protesters marched in towns and cities around the world yesterday in support of Peru’s Amazonian Indians. Demonstration and vigils were held outside Peruvian embassies and consulates in Bonn, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Washington DC, Brussels, Quito and many other cities. There were also demonstrations across Peru, from Iquitos in the Amazon to the capital Lima.
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Police fire tear gas in Peru protests
By: Carla Salazar, Miami Herald, June 11, 2009
Riot police used tear gas to turn student protesters away from Peru’s Congress on Thursday as thousands marched to back Amazon Indians resisting oil and natural gas exploration on their land. At least 20,000 students, labor union members and indigenous Peruvians from the country’s Andean highlands to its jungle lowlands joined the mostly peaceful nationwide protests.
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US: Immigrant rights activists ask transit system to stop raids
By: 10News, June 11, 2009
Immigrant rights activists want to make sure no one else is detained at San Diego trolley stations, 10News reported. Local activists said they want the transit system to stop the raids that occur on public transportation. In May, authorities conducted a sweep of public transportation and at a trolley stop in Old Town as part of Operation Viper.
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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
New tax plan sparks China protest
By: BBC News, June 15, 2009
Protesters in the south-eastern Chinese city of Nankang have overturned police cars and blocked roads over plans to more strictly enforce payment of taxes. Officials in Nankang said several hundred protesters blocked a major road while others delivered a petition to a local government office. Nankang officials blamed the protest on a misunderstanding over the tax plan.
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Vietnam: Call for release of lawyer who defended bloggers and free expression activists
By: Reporters Without Borders, June 15, 2009
Reporters Without Borders today called on Vietnam to immediately release the lawyer Le Cong Dinh, author of many pro-democracy articles and a known human rights activist, who was arrested two days ago. The 41-year-old lawyer, who has defended several bloggers and free expression activists, is facing a long prison sentence for his articles and commentaries in the Vietnamese press and online.
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Burma: Suu Kyi trial postponed
By: United Nations Development Programme, June 15, 2009
The trial of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been adjourned until June 26. The court ordered the two-week postponement during a brief hearing Friday [12 June 2009] at the notorious Insein prison near the main city of Rangoon. Aung San Suu Kyi is on trial for violating the terms of her house arrest after allowing an American man to stay at her lakeside Rangoon house after he swam there uninvited last month. She faces five years in prison if convicted.  
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World campaign in support of Burmese dissident
By: CeskeNoviny, June 14, 2009
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel is among the celebrities, political prisoners and other activists who have joined the world campaign for the release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on the occasion of her 64th birthday, AP reported today. She is to spend her 64th birthday in detention ordered by the Burmese junta. “Ms Aung San Suu Kyi is a world-known person, she is a Nobel Prize winner, and naturally every voice in her support can make her personal situation easier, but above all it can contribute to a change of the situation in Burma,” Havel told reporters today.
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Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng missing for over 120 days
By: Hao Xianghua, VOA News, June 14, 2009
Chinese attorney Gao Zhisheng mysteriously disappeared in February and hasn’t been seen for more than 120 days. Chinese ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong issued a letter to U.S. Senators denying that Chinese public security had anything to do with his recent disappearance. However, some overseas organizations believe Chinese authorities have kidnapped the famous human rights defender.
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Northwest China cab drivers stage sit-in amid license dispute
By: Xinhua News Agency, June 14, 2009
Hundreds of cab drivers in northwest China’s Xining City staged a sit-in in front of the municipal government headquarters on Sunday to demand assurances that they will be able to renew their business licenses. The drivers were angered after a newspaper reported that the Qinghai Provincial Government would cut their license periods from 12 years to eight, prompting a government official to accuse them of “misunderstanding” the regulations. More than 5,000 drivers began a one-day strike on Saturday night and hundreds of them convened the sit-in at around 10 a.m. Sunday, causing a brief traffic jam in the downtown area.
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Gay festival in China pushes official boundaries
By: Andrew Jacobs, NY Times, June 14, 2009
It was shortly after the “hot body” contest and just before a painted procession of Chinese opera singers took the stage that the police threatened to shut down China’s first gay pride festival. The authorities had already forced the cancellation of a play, a film screening and a social mixer, so when an irritated plainclothes officer arrived at the Saturday afternoon gala and flashed his badge, organizers feared the worst.
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Philippine military grabs upper hand in Mindanao
By: Luke Hunt, World Politics Review, June 12, 2009
The Philippine military has gained the upper hand over militants fighting for an independent Islamic homeland in the country’s south, after a series of deadly raids resulted in the destruction of rebel bases and pushed the conflict deeper into countryside. Given the geography and the thousands of islands that surround Mindanao, no one expects the Philippine military to achieve a definitive victory over the insurgents and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
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Chinese slam ‘compulsory’ filters
By: Radio Free Asia, June 11, 2009
Chinese computer users and commentators have lashed out publicly at a Web filtering program that the government has ordered installed on all new personal computers in China, saying it wants to protect young people online. The “Green Dam Youth Escort” is a Windows executable file, which claims to be able to prevent young people from gaining access to undesirable content such as pornography, as well as providing monitoring reports to supervisors about users’ activities online.
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China: A leaking dam?
By: Oiwan Lam, Global Voices, June 10, 2009
Chinese information activists have been testing and collecting information about the government sponsored filter software, “Green Dam Youth Escort” via blog posts, twitter (search #greendam) and collaborative platforms since the WSJ’s news about Beijing government required PC makers to install filter software for all the PCs shipped to China from July 1 2009 onward popped up. Some of them collectively put together a technical analysis of the software at google document and the result shows that the filter is full of flaws.
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Prospects for political change in China
By: Bernard Gwertzman, Council on Foreign Relations, June 2, 2009
New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, along with his wife Sheryl WuDunn, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for their coverage of the events in 1989 in Tiananmen Square where the Chinese government brutally cracked down on pro-reform protestors, killing hundreds. Reflecting on the events twenty years later, Kristof says that Chinese leaders have shown themselves to be exceptional economic managers.
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Afghanistan: Video – Rights of women
By: America Abroad Media, June 2009
Eight years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghan women are still fighting for justice and independence. Host Mariam Nawabi sits down with prominent women’s advocates and a member of the Muslim clergy to discuss the legal and religious rights of women in Afghanistan and who they can turn to for help if they are facing abuse. Mariam also speaks with Rebecca Grossman, co-founder of the Grossman Burn Foundation in Kabul, to examine the tragic effects of hopelessness and isolation on one young Afghan girl.
Watch video…

 

CENTRAL ASIA

Azerbaijan: Dynamic blogosphere
By: Onnik Krikorian, Global Voices, June 15, 2009
In what is fast becoming the most dynamic blogosphere in the South Caucasus, and especially in English, Azeri bloggers continue to write poignant entries. Following the April 30 massacre of students at the Azerbaijani Oil Academy and the later detention of dozens of youth activists and bloggers, Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines updates its readers on the aftermath of the tragedy.
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Tajikistan: New anti-corruption boss pledges to clean up agency first
By: EurasiaNet, June 12, 2009
Tajikistan’s newly appointed anti-corruption chief, Fattoh Saidov, says he will begin work with a sweep of the agency tasked with the fight against financial crime. Saidov was appointed head of the State Financial Control Agency on June 4 after Sherhon Salimzoda was moved to the president’s office as a political advisor. “The first issue that I intend to devote special attention to is [the agency’s] cadre. The main anti-corruption department should set an example,” Saidov said in an interview with the Asia Plus news agency.
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Kyrgyzstan: Harassment of journalists mounts in run-up to next month’s presidential election
By: Reporters Without Borders, June 8, 2009
Reporters Without Borders condemns the severe beating that Abduvakhab Moniev, the deputy editor of the Kyrgyz-language weekly Achyg Sayasat (Open Politics), received from an unidentified individual on 5 June in Bishkek. The newspaper has often been the target of harassment by the authorities. “The increase in harassment of the media in the run-up to the 23 July presidential election is worrying,” Reporters Without Borders said.
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EUROPE

Georgian police beat opposition activists, arrest dozens
By: LA Times, June 15, 2009
Georgian police clashed with opposition activists in the capital Monday, arresting dozens and beating demonstrators, along with several journalists. The clash was the latest violence to hit Georgia, as the opposition presses its more than 2-month-old campaign to force President Mikhail Saakashvili from office.
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Iryna Krasouskaya: “In Belarus people were murdered for their political stand”
By: Charter ’97, June 12, 2009
“Over the period of 10 years many times we heard different versions of disappearances of oppositionists in Belarus, and the most monstrous of them were originated by Lukashenka,” stated the widow of the abducted businessman and public leader Anatol Krasouski. This is how Iryna Krasouskaya responded to the reacted statement of Alyaksandr Lukashenka about the disappeared oppositionists.
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Russian ambassador: “I wish there were more freedom of speech both in Russia and in Belarus”
By: Charter ’97, June 11, 2009
For the first time in 11 years, journalists of the Charter’97 press center have been invited to a press conference given by the Russia’s ambassador in Minsk. Though a formal reason for the today’s press conference was Day of Russia, celebrated in the neighbouring countries on June 11, Aleksandr Surikov answered topical questions about Belarusian-Russian relations.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Western Sahara: Treading a mined path to freedom
By: Mohamed Brahim, Western Sahara Echo, June 14, 2009
Hot with anger and clutching a stone, Brahim Labid abandoned caution and charged straight into a minefield towards the defences of the Moroccan army. The accident happened in April, when Mr Labid, a refugee from Western Sahara, joined a protest march beneath a security barrier that seals most of the desert territory annexed by neighbouring Morocco in 1975 as Spanish colonisers departed following the death of the dictator Francisco Franco.
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Acquitted Egyptian dissident accepts White House congratulations
By: Rachelle Kliger, The Media Line, June 14, 2009
The most internationally recognized critic of the Egyptian regime may have turned 70 recently, but he has no intention of surrendering in his quest to promote democracy and freedom in Egypt. Sa’ad A-Din Ibrahim, a resolute supporter of a democratic electoral system and set terms for presidential office, celebrated triumph on May 25 after an Egyptian court overturned a 2008 verdict sentencing him to two years in prison for tarnishing Egypt’s reputation. An Egyptian judge acquitted him after many months of failed appeals.
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Saudi Arabia commits to women’s rights
By: Human Rights Tribune, June 13, 2009
Saudi Arabia made important commitments on women’s rights, on ending the juvenile death penalty and on other human rights issues during its review by the UN Human Rights Council on June 10, 2009 and should now work to carry out these reforms rapidly, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi Arabia accepted a recommendation put forward by UN member states in February to take steps to end the system of male guardianship over women, to give full legal identity to Saudi women, and prohibit gender discrimination.
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Lebanon’s elections: Reading the signs
By: Hazem Saghieh, openDemocracy, June 12, 2009
A national election is usually an occasion for reviewing the performance of a governing party, endorsing it for another term or (in the event of a change) announcing an emergent movement endorsed by popular legitimacy. Such a turning-point is at once a judgment of past policies, an affirmation of the future, and a dissolver of myths. At its democratic best there is a sense of completion about the whole process.
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Iran: 1,022 cases of press rights violations during Ahmadinejad’s government
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, June 11, 2009
The Freedom of Press Defense Society called the number of restrictions against the press in Iran during the last four years a record. The Society issued a statement in which they noted the banning and revoking of print licenses for more than 450 publications and the summoning or detention of hundreds of Iranian journalists and weblog publishers.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

ProtectionLine: New Protection Manual for Human Rights Defenders
By: Enrique Eguren, Marie Caraj, ProtectionLine, June 16, 2009
The purpose of this new manual is to provide human rights defenders with additional knowledge and some tools that may be useful for improving their understanding of security and protection. It is hoped that the manual will support training on security and protection and will help defenders to undertake their own risk assessments and define security rules and procedures which suit their particular situation.
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Guide to training programs in conflict resolution and related fields
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, June 15, 2009
One avenue to develop additional skills related to peace and conflict resolution is through various training programs. Pursuing academic studies is one great method to developing expertise and for more information about programs see the Academic Guide. In this section, I provide some general suggestions for key questions to ask in researching opportunities.
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Campaign: DreamActivist making “dream” reality
By: DigiActive, June 14, 2009
What happens when an immigrant child who comes to the United States as a minor without documents graduates high school, but doesn’t have the papers to go to college or get a job? These students, many of whom graduate at the top of their class or as star athletes with promising futures as teachers, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and public servants, end up living in the shadows for no fault of their own.
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UNDP: Citizens must engage and respond to new global crises
By: United Nations Development Programme, June 9, 2009
Climate change and the current global economic crisis bring an unprecedented opportunity to transform global governance, which must start giving priority to human development and citizen engagement. This was one of the main conclusions of a two-day consultation between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and 25 representatives of civil society organizations and foundations in New York on June 5 and 6.
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